Clear plastic card design guide
Our cards our 86mm x 54mm (3.385’’ x 2.125’’) with rounded corners with a corner radius of 3mm (0.118’’) as shown in the diagram. This shape is fixed. We do not have the ability to die cut plastic cards. The plastic cards are credit card sized as standard.
We use a thermal transfer to bond the ink to the plastic. This allows us to use totally opaque colours and
metallic foils on plastic. The downside of this process is that we cannot cover large blocks of areas with ink. As the process uses heat to bond the inks, the more ink you use, the more heat is required to ensure a good bond between ink and plastic. If too much ink is used , the required heat can warp and distort the plastic. Here is a guide as to how much ink you can use in one block. If you still have problems, please submit your design and we will try to find a solution.
We like to use a minimum of 7.5pt font size with regular weight sans serif fonts (Futura, Arial, Century Gothic
etc) and 8pt with regular weight serif fonts (Garamond, Times New Roman, Century etc). Using smaller fonts
can result in a problem called ‘filling in’, where characters like ‘a’ and ‘e’ do not form correctly.
We can reproduce designs that bleed right to the edge of the card in any ink. We request a 3mm bleed in
cases where the ink needs to run to the very edge of the card.
We have a set library of colours suitable for use on translucent plastic cards. These include both flat pigment
colours and reflective metallic inks. A rough guide to the colours we have available to us can be found on the
right. Unfortunately we cannot use these inks to create gradients If your logo contains colour gradients, we would need to alter it so that it is compatible.
If you’re design has two or more colours touching each other, we will need to put a 0.5pt stroke around the
objects so that they do not touch. This reduces the likelyhood of countour lines where the inks overlap. It also reduces the risk of bonding issues sometimes caused by overlapping inks.
Printing on the Reverse
It is very possible to utilise the translucent aspect of the card and print colours on the back. Colours show up very well through the card from the other side, giving a very subtle 3d effect as colours printed on the front will be on a very slightly different level than the inks on the back. It is used mainly so that colours are abe to touch eachother. For example, if a logo absolutely demands that a green must be surrounded by a yellow for instance, we can print the yellow on the back of the card and the green on the front. Two drawbacks for this is that metallic inks cannot be put on the back as the bonding side is very different
from the actual displayed side, and the other drawback is that the same ink front and back of the card must
be charged as two colours as it must go through the print process twice.
We recommend that lines be no thinner than 0.25mm in width. When we come to create the metal plates
used to apply ink to the plastic, using lines thinner than 0.25mm can result in a jagged, broken finish on very
fine detail. Due to our extensive experience we can help you through this process if you are concerned about the level of detail on your design.
Clear Ink is used for creating a watermark effect on the frosted plastic card. It works by slightly translucency of the plastic. The result is a wonderfully subtle effect. Used effectively, it can take your design to a new level. The clear ink is regarded as an ink and is charged as an ink colour.
Remember, we are not trying to scare you off with the limitations detailed below! We are happy to work with you, of feri ng advice and our design experience, to ensure your card looks stunning.
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